First off, don’t you tell me “it’s just a comic book movie.” Don’t question the current superhero craze, and don’t tell me you never thought Suicide Squad would be good in the first place. Are we clear on that? Because with that said, Suicide Squad was the most alright movie I’ve seen in quite sometime. Yes, not horrible, but just alright. It really wasn’t as bad as you may have read, and to the critics that have boosted this thought for you, they’re more than likely in their mid 50’s and watch superhero movies thinking “well, this is unrealistic.” We don’t like those types in this genre. But in all seriousness, although Suicide Squad falls short on a few levels, it still manages to be entertaining. The latter isn’t because of the plot, it’s more-so because the cast helps in keeping things afloat, where they’d otherwise falter.
Will Smith as Deadshot isn’t a hard sell. Smith brings his charm we’re all too familiar with to his role as the world’s deadliest and most accurate marksman. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is as exciting and unpredictable as you’d expect, and Viola Davis is menacingly brilliant as Amanda Waller. So what went wrong? Well, for starters, Jared Leto as The Joker just wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. His modern day portrayal of the clown prince didn’t strike me as a tortured soul, but rather as a man trying his best to be bad. The Joker is only in the film to segue into Quinn’s storyline, but he leaves so many unanswered questions. His scenes are thrown together as if Leto didn’t complete the film, and they had to work with what they had. And with the obscene campaigning he’s done for the film, we know this wasn’t the case. Because of this, we never truly see the brilliance of his character, or even explore his and Quinn’s obsessive relationship enough.
The film starts off by giving us great introductions to our squad. Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo was a surprising highlight for the film, especially since we learn the reason behind him avoiding use of his powers (which I won’t spoil for you). But given the short end of development was Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, who provided plenty of funny moments in the film. But underdeveloped is an understatement for Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc, who we only learned of his self-love, and infatuation with BET (yeah, seriously). Character gripes aside, this thing was doomed after the first trailer’s debut last year. And we probably have ourselves to blame for that.
You see, a large part of the criticism Batman v Superman received was due in part to the film’s darker tone and lack of humor. They weren’t focused on their audience cracking a smile in the least bit. But powering through almost three hours of a film without a chuckle is a bit exhausting. Marvel seems to be winning in the theaters because they’ve found their balance of fun and action. For this very reason, Guardians of The Galaxy is one of their most successful films to date. When Suicide Squad‘s first trailer debuted, it looked dark, and sold the idea that it would closely walk the line of PG-13 and Rated-R. I was excited, of course, until critics and fans seemed to throw director David Ayer off his A-game. In January, the second trailer for Suicide Squad debuted, and to my surprise packed a much lighter tone.
With a moody compelling cover of Bee Gee’s 1968 classic “I Started A Joke” playing throughout the first trailer, the second one was more upbeat with a rendition of Queen’s 1978 hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Then, reports surfaced in April that Ayer would be doing reshoots of the film to “add more humor and lightness.” And that, folks, was our first red flag.
“The movie was always funny. The movie was always a lot of fun. And, you know, the studio just gave me more resources to make it even better.” -David Ayer, Director of Suicide Squad
Ayer of course shot down these claims, but if that wasn’t what took a toll, then what happened? The second trailer was a 180 from the tone of the first. This time, it was more vibrant in color, more upbeat, and certainly more comedic.
Also, the scenes that seemed the most intriguing from the previews, didn’t even make it to the final cut.
For instance, where was this scene, and what the hell was The Joker up to? Plenty of Leto’s material was left behind and it may have had something to do with them changing the tone of the final product at the last minute. IGN asked him recently if he was upset that so much of The Joker’s material was cut, to which he says:
“Were there any that didn’t get cut from the movie? I’m asking you, were there any that DIDN’T get cut? […] Oh, there were so many scenes that got cut from the movie, I couldn’t even start [to name one that he was sad to lose]. I think that the Joker, we did a lot of experimentation on the set, we explored a lot. There’s so much that we shot that’s not in the film. […] If I die anytime soon, it’s probably likely that it’ll surface somewhere. That’s the good news about the death of an actor is like, you know, all that stuff seems to come out.”
Put his creepy response aside, and he has a point. So how is this partially our fault that this film didn’t live up to its full potential? Well, its pretty simple when you consider how well we received Deadpool, and how much we shitted on BvS. I believe with Squad, they really tried to give us what they thought we wanted by going off of our past preferences, and trying to sustain a happy medium. But this is also where they got it wrong.
We as an audience aren’t sold on one trick ponies all the time. Marvel’s Deadpool was received so well because it was anti-everything superhero movies stood for, and fully lived up to the character’s standards, while BvS took itself too seriously, and tried to jam their iconic characters into a flawed storyline. Our ever-changing preferences in entertainment may have confused the DCEU, but it was still up to them to keep their finger at the pulse of what we’d love to see, and really bring the noise. With the first Justice League trailer already packing a lighter tone, let’s hope they aren’t making the same mistake twice. Also, lets try not to put our Joker in a rap video with no purpose. Relax and take notes.